A quick reference with counseling wisdom and biblical insights to help make you more effective at what you do.

We love being a part of your life!

Tim Clinton, Ed.D.
President, AACC

July 28 – Aug 3

Stress and Demands

Action Step

  1. Gain Perspective
    • Gain some perspective on what is causing the stress. “Break apart” the stress overload into manageable pieces, and begin to address each component.
  2. Consider What God Is Doing
    • One of the best antidotes to stress is seeing God’s purposes in the difficulties and believing that God intends some good outcome.
    • God may use certain situations to develop one of the fruits of the Spirit in you. Knowing that God uses every situation—even the petty, irritating situations of life—to teach you to become more like Jesus can help you feel less stressed by things you cannot control.
  3. Get Alone with God
    • Planned times of quiet and solitude are a good balance to a busy life.
    • Cultivating a heart of prayer helps you see God’s perspective and to more fully experience His presence throughout the day (Ps. 16:8—11).
    • Many use prayer as a way to change a stressful situation. Although this is not a bad idea, often prayer does not change the situation as much as it changes you and your orientation to stressful people and situations.
    • As you purposely quiet your heart each day, the Holy Spirit has a chance to change the way you see your stressful situation.
  4. Share Your Burden with Others
    • You can share your burden literally or figuratively. In other words, you can ask others to help with some of your responsibilities and you can talk about your stressors, which can bring relief and prayer support.
    • Perhaps some of the stress is because you’re doing too much. Even Moses had to delegate when he got overwhelmed (Exod. 18:13—23). Maybe you can do the same.
  5. Guard Your Heart
    • Stress has a way of orienting us toward the things that are wrong in our lives. It pushes us to forget the good and godly things in our life and, instead, to see and believe that only bad things are going on.
    • Guard your heart and mind against such stress-induced negativity and pessimism. Take time each day to check your thinking and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5), focusing on God and allowing him to change your perspective.
  6. Live Intentionally
    • Stop majoring in minor things. At the end of life, many will realize that they spent most of their time on what mattered least, and the least time on what mattered most.
    • Decide what is really important, choose your priorities, and live for them.
    • Become more intentional about the way you spend your time and energy. Learn to say no to things that are just not that important.
  7. Get Help (Respect Your Limits)
    • Often our lives become filled with stress because we refuse to accept our limits or we are completely boxed in and paralyzed by them.
    • Feeling overwhelmed may be a reminder that you are not living within the limits and boundaries that God has created for you. It may be time to reevaluate, cut back, say no, or slow down. Even Moses was confronted by his father-in-law, Jethro, for doing more than he should have been doing (Exod. 18:17—18).
  8. Laugh a Little (Laugh a Lot)
    • Allow for some levity in your life. Take time for a comic strip, a favorite saying, a joke.
    • From time to time, find something to laugh about for so long and so hard that your sides hurt when you are done.

Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. -Benjamin Franklin

Biblical Insights

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

Jesus reminded His followers: “in the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). The prophet Isaiah wrote that God gives peace in spite of conflict and turmoil. Peace is so basic to God’s nature that it is part of His name. God the Father is the “God of peace” (Phil. 4:9; Heb. 13:20). God the Son is the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). The Holy Spirit produces peace in our lives (Gal. 5:22). To have “perfect peace,” wrote Isaiah, we must focus our minds on God and trust in Him.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. John 14:1

The disciples were bewildered and discouraged. Jesus had said He was going away, that He would die, that one of the disciples was a traitor, and that Peter would deny Him.
“Let not your heart be troubled,” Jesus told them. Believers can rest their troubled hearts, knowing that Jesus is in control regardless of the circumstances.

Persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed . . . 2 Corinthians 4:9

For us, each day is filled with different levels of stress. Regardless of occupation, age, social status, or lifestyle, we experience stress. We bring some stressors on ourselves—because of poor planning, saying yes too often, or being disorganized. We need to learn from these experiences so we don’t allow ourselves to become overwhelmed again. Stress also arises from factors outside our control—the weather, a broken computer, an unexpected difficulty or sorrow. At these times, we can control only our reactions to the stress. Our reactions reveal our character and our trust in God.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Stress and its companion, worry, do their best to immobilize believers. People are anxious about the future; they are anxious about events that haven’t happened but could happen. So what can believers do about their stresses? When we give our stress to God, He replaces it with His peace that “surpasses all understanding.” When we feel stress rising, we should turn to God in prayer. He will give us the peace He promised.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James 1:2—3

Everyone faces trials in one form or another. We cannot control what we will encounter, but we can control the stress level that situations cause. Instead of being stressed, we can try being joyful. Joy is not a natural reaction to difficulty, but one that the Holy Spirit can provide. For this to happen we must choose an attitude that looks expectantly to the lessons God will teach and the wisdom He will provide. There’s no better prescription for dealing with stress.

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